We’re having an animal-tastic time here in Southern France.

We’ve managed to spot a lizard in the garden and a frog on a dark harbour walk.

We’ve seen several dogs on the beach who could easily have been nicknamed Sandy.

Yesterday, we were entertained by enormous dinosaur replicas as well as the real skeletons of the likes of a brachiosaurus.

OK. The truth is out. We actually create our own entertainment.

Then today on another long beach walk we spotted several jellyfish. The thought of which frightened my son closer to death than any sting actually could.

He swore blind not to go into the sea again and not to walk near to the wet sand.

However, about an hour later I took this photo.

A boy rescuing a buoy.

That would be my boy.

The stick later became a tool in his newly invented game ‘Flick-the-dead-jellyfish-back-into-the sea’.

Further along the beach we spotted someone flying a kite, which from a distance looked like a very realistic seagull.

But the best animal-tastic behaviour of all was that of a deranged naked woman bouncing and flouncing in the very cold sea. All by herself.

French beds to hairy legs

Since I arrived in the South of France, I’ve realised a few things:

  • Without caffeine I am nothing. Without my fix of homemade espresso I have been forced to turn to Coca Cola. One of those boats in the harbour could float on the amount I’ve sloshed back.
  • French beds are funny. On the first night I awoke yelling, “What the Hell was that?” At first, I was convinced that there had been an earthquake. Somewhat disconcerting when the land one is currently residing on is made predominantly of sand. Then as it happened again and again I slowly started to realise that the ‘earth shaking’ was actually my husband turning and rocking the bed. I would have written, ‘My bed is funny’ – but it turns out that the girls’ bed (a bunk) does exactly the same thing.
  • Despite the fact that I like the earth moving for me – I won’t be having sex in France. The squeaky, swaying bed is freaking me out. It would be like having sex while lying on the sea. Besides, the children are awake before and asleep after me.
  • My French is shit. But perseverance is the key. Between pidgin English and broken French, I have though managed to order and pick up a birthday cake for the upcoming birthday of my daughter. (She’ll be five on Wednesday). Quelle surpise!

  • French birthday cakes are really expensive. It cost around €25 Gulp. The rest of the day we’ll just eat toast.
  • French cakes are a work of art. I had to buy some extra mini cakes.
  • We may end of living on cake. French cakes are scrumptious!
  • I’m obsessed with shells. I cannot stop collecting them. I mean it. We’ll require a trailer to transport them home.
  • Sand really does get everywhere. Another good reason for no sex. Things would chafe.
  • Despite that, if I won the lottery I really would buy a beach house.
  • I am useless at shaving my legs. I’d allowed my thermal layer to grow in at home, in preparation for the German winter. Then the night before leaving I had a quick shave before going to bed. Lying on the beach I noticed large glistening areas of blond hair. Luckily no passersby fainted/vomited/shouted insults – OK I can’t be sure of the last one, because of my crap French.
  • It was a good idea not to give in and buy the ADHD one a balaclava. An adventurous ‘walk in the dark along the beach and then along the harbour’ revealed the woolly hatted one to particularly enjoy shining the torch on the boats. Imagine how that would have looked with a balaclava?

Greetings from the beach

First day, (well you can’t count the twelve-hour travel day, can you?) and the weather has been exceptionally nice. So we hit the beach.

We’ve entertained ourselves the kids building sand castles with moats, collecting shells, jumping waves and burying each other in the sand.

It’s been warm enough to wear our bathing suits. Cold enough to make our nipples stand to attention.

And we’ve loved every minute of it.

Even the bit when the two middle ones got all possessive over a stick and ended up shouting and throwing sand and sea water in each others faces.

Up to the bit when, as I dozed at the table over a game of ludo, and my husband dozed on the sofa, one of the scarily awake kids (does the sea air only knock out pre-forties grown ups?) smashed my wine glass, sending shattered fragments in every direction. One tiny shard actually managed to skim past my hand cutting it on its journey.

I sat slightly taken aback at the sheer surprise as my blood trickled.

And somewhat sorrowful.

It was the last drop of wine.

Hot and bothered

Damn it!

I left the living room for a moment and on my return I found it all hot and bothered.

OK. I took a little more than a moment.

After all, dressing myself involved intermittent whoops and prancing around semi-nakedness.

I have managed to secure us a little holiday. All six of us. An affordable holiday. We’re off to the south of France. I’ve booked a beach house in November. We’ll build sandcastles in the wind and window-shop through the glass of closed seasonal stores.

We’ll roam deserted beaches with rain or stormy sea-water splashing in our faces. We won’t jet ski. We won’t sunbathe. We won’t swim in the nice warm sea. But we may take our shoes off for a little paddle and warm ourselves up again running away across shell-splintered sands. *Note to self remember plasters.*

I am delirious.

Hence the whooping.

Not hence the semi-nakedness.

Bra’ed and panted I skipped to the wash-room only to discover that I’d forgotten to take the washing out of the machine. Again. Determined not to wash the load for a third time, I held my breath in an attempt to ignore the fusty smell. Mother Nature will help me, I decided. And if not there’s always Febreze.

I put on a new wash while being distracted by a four-year-old deciding to change her outfit again. For the love of God it’s not even 10:30 yet. Evidently, I was not distracted enough, because she managed to trap herself in a tightly closed belt. It took me several minutes to loosen the buckle enough for her to step out of the contraption. The whole time she tried to maintain a basic breathing function and hold in her tears.

One freed child later, we mounted the stairs together heaving one basket of smelly washing.

We entered the living room to be smacked in the face with a heat wall of 26°C.

One teenager having gone outside, to celebrate the sunshine and having forgotten to close the bloody door.

Chardonnay any one?

Holiday joy!